Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has stated his opposition to plans to reform the structure of the Champions League.Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has led proposals to revamp the competition, with the intention of including more matches and introducing some form of promotion and relegation in 2024.Initial plans have been put forward by the European Club Association (ECA), of which Rummenigge was chairman from 2008 until 2017. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “Why do we have to change anything?” Rummenigge asked Bild.”I’m also not a big fan of the idea to expand the group stage. At the end of the current model with the groups of four, we often end up with so-called ‘dead games’, where everything is already decided.”Everyone is always running after the money. But where is this money going?“It isn’t like our profits exploded and our shareholders also shared in this success. The money is being spent on players’ wages and agents’ fees.“Most importantly, the European Cup will not take place on the weekends. Because that would create too big a fight with the national leagues.”Rummenigge, 63, won the European Cup twice as a player with Bayern in the 1970s and as a former chairman of the ECA, his opinion on the matter could carry some significant weight.He is not the only high-profile opponent, with the Premier League already having issued a statement underlining their opposition to any reforms “that would alter the structures, calendar and competitiveness of the domestic game”.Closer to home, Rummenigge also repeated his support for Bayern manager Niko Kovac, who had been linked with an early dismissal from the club.Bayern started the season poorly and looked like surrendering their Bundesliga crown to Borussia Dortmund – but finished the campaign in style with a domestic double.”I do not know any club that would have dismissed their coach after winning the double,” said Rummenigge.Rumours of his sacking had in part been due to Rummenigge’s lack of public backing for the coach during the season, but he claims he had Kovac’s best interests at heart.”I did not want to hurt him. I just wanted to focus everyone on our common goal.”Success is part of our club’s DNA. We have imposed this pressure on ourselves, and everyone must withstand that at Bayern. Niko knows that, he has already worked as a player here.”
Rabat – The Russian ambassador to Morocco, Valerian Shuvaev, has told Sputnik News that Russia “maintains friendly relations with the parties to the Western Sahara conflict.”The diplomat added that the conflict should be resolved under the auspices of the UN, “especially since there is a Council authorized to resolve these issues.”Shuvaev said that Russia’s expertise was to “provide practical formulas.” However, “because there are many parties involved in the conflict, certainly someone will consider it a kind of pressure, and this is something we want to avoid.” “We maintain normal relations with all parties to the conflict; we keep contacts with the Polisario Front, and with Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania.”He said Russia is ready to recognize any decision agreed on by the parties.Moroccan observers and analysts consider Russia one of the main supporters of Algeria and its ally the Polisario Front.Read Also: Haiti: Morocco Autonomy Plan Will Guarantee Stability in Western SaharaDespite the rapprochement between Morocco and Russia in recent years, Algeria has stronger relations with Russia because they share technical military cooperation.Russia remains the primary military supplier of Algeria. Russia also supports a “referendum in Western Sahara.”In July, Russian Ambassador to Algeria Igor Belyaev was quoted by MEMO as saying, “Moscow is keen to take the position in favour of the implementation of the United Nations resolutions. Russia supports what the United Nations delegates are doing to organise the referendum in Western Sahara. It also supports the efforts of UN Secretary-General Envoy, Horst Kohler, to re-launch dialogue between Morocco and the Polisario.”Read Also: Western Sahara: Russia Says Algeria Should Negotiate as ‘Observer State’Russia also opposes Morocco’s position that Algeria should take responsibility as a main party and not as an observer to the conflict as it has been claiming for years.The Russian foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said that Algeria should shun Western Sahara peace talks as an “observer country.”Russia also supports Algeria’s traditional position that Morocco and the Porsario are the only parties that should negotiate.Traditionally wary of the UN-led political process, Russia also blocked an initial draft of the UN Security resolution on the extension of MINURSO in April of this year.Russia aimed to make the resolution friendlier to Algeria. After the resolution was adopted, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, said that the text of the resolution was “unbalanced.”He added that the US-drafted resolution was slightly one-sided and that “a number of suggestions by other Security Council members remained unanswered.”Russia, however, was unable to do the same with the recently adopted Resolution 2440. The resolution named Algeria, calling on the country to work constructively along with the other parties to ensure a successful result in the UN-led process.